Jane Cole’s “Reminiscence of Forty-One Years of Factory Life” and selections from A.I. Root’s “An Eyewitness Account of Early American Beekeeping.”
Jane Cole worked for the A. I. Root Company for 41 years, starting when A.I. Root was making jewelry in his factory on the Town Square, in Medina, Ohio. She worked through the construction of the new factory built on the Country Fair Grounds on the edge of town to manufacture beekeeping equipment, and the many, many factory expansions they made after that. During those 41 years she did almost every job that could be done in a factory that sawed wood, made smokers, extractors, bottled honey, printed a magazine and books, and took orders and filled orders and delivered orders to customers, the railroad and the post office.
She wrote about building the new factory, child labor, factory dangers (and there were many), factory politics, noon prayers, the hundreds of people she worked with over the years, the company sponsored picnics, the men, women and children she was in charge of, and the people she worked with, and for.
When A. I. Root retired, he, too, wrote an autobiography, about running the factory that Jane Cole worked in.the Root Factory Original Location
What Tammy has done is take Jane Cole’s work and stand it side by side with A. I. Root’s work to give you a very unique look at factory life, from the perspective of an employee, and her employer. Many of the events Jane found worthy of writing about were also mentioned by Root in his work. Because neither was aware of the other’s work, the telling of these events is about as straight forward from each as you can imagine.
The story Tammy as sewn together tells much about early beekeeping history and equipment, the evolution of factory equipment and science, about working as a single woman in what is mostly a man’s world, and about life in a small town in northeast Ohio at the turn of the century.
Author: Tammy Horn Potter